Source: TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY submitted to
WATER RESOURCES AND SALINITY MANAGEMENT IN THE FAR WEST TEXAS
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
NEW
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
1001806
Grant No.
(N/A)
Project No.
TEX0-1-9162
Proposal No.
(N/A)
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
(N/A)
Project Start Date
Nov 1, 2013
Project End Date
Oct 31, 2018
Grant Year
(N/A)
Project Director
Ganjegunte Kesh, M, G.
Recipient Organization
TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY
750 AGRONOMY RD STE 2701
COLLEGE STATION,TX 77843-0001
Performing Department
El Paso-TAMU Agr Res Cntr
Non Technical Summary
Salinity and water scarcityare the major challenges confronting sustainable development in many arid and semi-arid regions of the world. A majority of the irrigated area in Rio Grande basin is affected by salinity and sodicity. Salinity of Rio Grande has long been recognized as a major water-quality problem throughout the basin It is therefore important to manage soil and water salinity to reduce adverse impacts on agriculture and urban sectors for the economic and environmental well being of the region. Many arid regions affected by salinity are also regions that are facing increasing water scarcity. Water demands are increasing in the region, driven largely by rapid population and economic growth but supplies are stagnat or decreasing. Precipitation contributes little to the water availability and major source of irrigation is the Rio Grande River. The region is heavily dependent on mostly brackish groundwater for meeting its urban water demands. Therefore, it is important to improvewater use efficiency to conserve freshwater and develop alternative irrigation sources through water reuse in order to meet future agricultural/urban needs and to extend the availability of freshwater sources in the region.This project is aimed at developing appropriate salinity and watermanagement practices to ensure sustainability of irrigated agriculture,extend freshwater availability through water reuse andimprove on-farm water use efficiency to conserve freshwater.
Animal Health Component
100%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
(N/A)
Applied
100%
Developmental
(N/A)
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
1030110200040%
1110210205040%
1037210201020%
Goals / Objectives
The major objective of this project is to develop a set of efficient water and salinity management practices to ensure sustainability of irrigated agriculture and landscape water management. Specific objectives of the project are to: Assess extent and degree of salinity at the field scale and develop appropriate salinity management practices to ensure long-term viability of irrigated agriculture in the region. Develop appropriate techniques to facilitate environmentally safe reuse of waters with elevated salinity such as reclaimed wastewater, agricultural return flows, and gray water. Improve on-farm water use efficiency to conserve freshwater resources.
Project Methods
Objective 1: Salinity Assessment and Management Research will be conducted to develop data on distribution of salts and identify salinity hotspots within affected areas at field scale using traditional methods as well as electromagnetic induction techniques. Developing salt distribution information at field scale will aid in the development of appropriate salinity management practices and reduce cost of remediation by targeting application of amendments. Experiments will be conducted to study retention mechanisms of salts on the soil exchange complex. Suitable isotherm models will be used to provide quantitative description of salt exchange processes. Soil column experiments under controlled conditions involving different types of soils receiving water with varying ionic compositions, pH and ionic strengths will be conducted to determine salt adsorption and buildup in soil. Leachate samples will be collected and analyzed for chemical composition using standard methods (Eaton et al., 2005). Soil water movement, transport of salts will be evaluated using a suitable chemical transport model (e.g., Hydrus 3D). Results of these experiments will help in evaluating potential risks associated with transport of salts from the soil profile to underlying groundwater bodies. Performance of different amendments such as synthetic polymers or precipitated wastes from water supply pretreatment (predominantly inorganic flocculants such as aluminum or Iron salts) to ameliorate calcareous/gypsic sodic soils will be evaluated using soil column experiments. Since the project proposes the use of commercially available inexpensive polymers and industrial wastes such as water supply pretreatment wastes, it is hoped that these amendment technologies will be economically viable. Collaborative research with resource economists will be carried out to evaluate the cost effectiveness of different technologies utilizing amendments. Depending upon the efficiency of salt removal in root zones and cost effectiveness, these amendments will be evaluated using field experiments involving suitable experimental design (use of amendments such as water supply pretreatment waste may be subject to permitting requirements). Research in collaboration with plant scientists (e.g., Dr. Genhua Niu/ Dr. Calvin Trostle) will be carried out to evaluate remediation of calcareous sodic soils using plants. Collaborative research with irrigation engineers (e.g., Dr. Juan Enciso) will be conducted to develop appropriate irrigation methods to manage salinity. The results of these experiments will provide information on efficiency of different amendments in reducing the salinity in the root zones of major crops grown in the region. Objective 2: Water Reuse Potential for reuse of waters from different sources (such as reclaimed wastewater, desalination concentrate blends, graywater and power plant cooling tower reject water) for irrigating suitable plants will be evaluated under both controlled and field conditions. Column studies under controlled conditions involving different soil types receiving water with elevated salt concentrations will be used to evaluate changes in soil properties (permeability and salt concentrations), and to develop suitable management practices. Changes in soil salinity and moisture conditions will be monitored by direct soil sampling at different depths within root zones and also by using moisture/salinity probes. Chemical properties of wastewaters from different sources and leachate samples will be analyzed. Suitable soil salinity and sodicity management practices identified through different experiments conducted to achieve objective 1 will be implemented to minimize the adverse effects of reuse of water with elevated salinity. A suitable chemical transport model will be utilized to understand salt transport through the soil profile receiving water with elevated salt concentrations to assess potential for groundwater contamination. The results of these experiments will be useful in determining appropriate management practices for use of water with elevated salinity. Objective 3: Improving on-farm water use efficiency to conserve freshwater Improved irrigation scheduling will be developed using readily available inexpensive real-time continuous soil moisture sensors. The performance of different soil moisture sensors will be evaluated in the laboratory. Based on the outcomes of laboratory examination, the best performing moisture sensor will be installed in select fields representing variations in soil types encountered in the irrigation district (EPCWID#1). Data collected from soil moisture sensors will be utilized to predict the lower limit or threshold soil moisture level to trigger irrigation. Given the challenges growers face in the irrigation district regarding the uncertainty about the time of water delivery, it is important to determine when the soil moisture will be at the threshold level several days in advance. This project will develop a method using daily evapo-transpiration data available (free of cost) on Texas ET network (http://texaset.tamu.edu) to decide when to order irrigation water. Amount of irrigation water applied using improved irrigation scheduling will be compared to that by traditional methods of irrigation scheduling to compare water savings. Results of this project will be widely disseminated through grower meetings, extension agents, project factsheets, presentations at scientific meetings, and technical articles to encourage wider adoption of improved irrigation scheduling in major crops grown in the region (pecan, alfalfa and cotton) to save irrigation water.

Progress 11/01/13 to 09/30/14

Outputs
Target Audience: Fellow Scientists and Researchers. Local growers/farmers Water utilities and managers policy makers the public of the region Changes/Problems: Nothing Reported What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided? The project supported one full time technician,Mr. John Clark and thefour part time student workers; Mr. Juan Alvarez, Ms. Jessica Avalos, Mr. Carlos Castro-Lopez, and Ms. Daniel Marquez Reyes, during November 2013 toSeptember 2014. The project provided training and professional development opportunutiesto the above students in the field of environment sciences, specifically water and salinity management. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest? Project results have been disseminated in the following formats: Journal ariticles, scientificconfrerence proceedingsand technical report for fellow researchers; Project reports to funding agencies; Presentationsand posters in extension meetings to growers, generalpublic and water managers in the region. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals? Research on water reuse, freshwater conservation, salinity assessment and salinity management will continue during thenext reporting period. Newly funded projects will be initiated and grant proposals for future projects will be submitted. Research results will be actively disseminated in various formats such as journal articles, technical reports, conference proceedings, presentation at local, regional and national meetings. New students will be recruited and trained in the field of water and salinitymanagement.

Impacts
What was accomplished under these goals? Research funded by federal, state and local agencies (USDA-NIFA, USDA –ARS, USDOT, USDOI, Texas State Bioenergy Initiative, EPWU) on water reuse to evaluate marginal quality water irrigation for potential bioenergy crops production and its effects on soil salinity under greenhouse and field conditions continued.Additional funds were received to continue these ongoing projects from Texas State Bioenergy Initiative. Results of the research funded by USEPA through Southwest Consortium for Environmental Research and Policy (SCERP)that evaluated interactions among human activities, water quality, and soil salinity was completed and submitted. Final report of the USDA-NIFA projectthatevaluatedthe impacts of "Creosotebush-tarbush Control on Rainfall Infiltration and Forage production in the Rio Grande Basin" was completed and submitted. Outcomes of this project help in better understanding of brush control efforts impacts on the local water balance via changes in interception, runoff, infiltration and concomitant changes in vegetation. Research continued on managing salinity and permeability by synthetic polymer application. Data to date show improved infiltration, a decline in soil salinity and increased crop yields as a result of polymer application compared to control. Farmers in the El Paso region use expensive sub-soiling or deep tillage to improve permeability of salt affected soils, synthetic organic polymers may offer an alternative to improve soil permeability. Research continued on evaluation of different types of soil moisture sensors for their potential use in the development of improved irrigation scheduling. Preliminary data indicate that at least one irrigation can be saved per season, which could result in significant water savings. Evaluation of electromagnetic induction (EMI) method continued. New project in collobration with New Mexico State University was started to evaluate salinity changes in turf fields as a result of irrigation with marginal quality water. Understanding the spatial and temporal distribution of soil salinity is necessary for developing effective salinity management practices. Results of the above research were presented at local growers and national & international scientific meetings. Final outputs will be disseminated through extension meetings, scientific conferences, publications (factsheets and technical articles).

Publications

  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2014 Citation: Ganjegunte, G.K., Z. Sheng, and J.A. Clark. 2014. Soil Salinity and Sodicity Appraisal by Electromagnetic Induction in Irrigated Cotton Soils. Land Degradation & Development. 25:228-235.
  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2014 Citation: Sun, Y., G. Niu, P. Osuna, L. Zhao, G. K. Ganjegunte, G. Peterson, J.R. Peralta-Videa, and J. L. Gardea-Torresdey. 2014. Variability in Salt Tolerance of Sorghum bicolor L. Agricultural Science. 2:9-21.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Published Year Published: 2013 Citation: Ganjegunte, G.K., G. Niu, A.L. Ulery, Y. Wu, and C. Wang 2013. Developing Alternative Water Sources for Bioenergy Crop Production on Marginal Lands. Proceedings of ASA, CSSA and SSSA International Meetings Water, Food & Energy for a Sustainable World, 1 page [on Web], November 3-6, 2013, Tampa, FL. Abstract.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Published Year Published: 2013 Citation: Ganjegunte, G.K., G. Niu, Y. Wu, A. Ulery, and C. Wang. 2013. Meeting energy needs by developing management practices to utilize marginal quality irrigation water on saline lands for sustainable bio-energy crop production. p. 158-159. Proceedings of International Conference on Sustainable Development organized by Ontario International Development Agency during December 04-06, 2013 in Chandigarh, Punjab, India.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Published Year Published: 2013 Citation: Ganjegunte, G.K., G. Niu, Y. Wu, A. Ulery, and C. Wang. 2013. Evaluation of Bioenergy Crop Production with Marginal Quality Irrigation Water on Saline Lands under Extremely Arid Conditions. Proceedings of the Desert Technology 11 conference jointly organized by Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture, Dryland Systems Research Program of Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research and Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Texas A&M University System, November 19-22, 2013 at San Antonio, TX. p. 41. Abstract.
  • Type: Other Status: Submitted Year Published: 2013 Citation: Ganjegunte, G.K. 2013. Evaluating the Feasibility of Treated Urban Wastewater (Type II) Irrigation for Bioenergy Crop Production in the Far West Texas, Final report submitted to El Paso Water Utilities, 20 pages
  • Type: Other Status: Submitted Year Published: 2013 Citation: Jin,L., C. Cox, G.K. Ganjegunte, V. Lougheed, D. Borrok, and L. Ma. 2013. Evaluation of Soil Sustainability along the Rio Grande in Western Texas: Changes in Salt Loading Due to Flood Irrigation. Final report submitted to U.S. EPA, 35 pages.
  • Type: Other Status: Submitted Year Published: 2013 Citation: A. McDonald and G.K. Ganjegunte. 2013. Impacts of Creosotebush-Tarbush Control on Rainfall Infiltration and Forage Production in the Rio Grande Basin. Final Report submitted to Rio Grande Basin Initiative (USDA), 7 pages
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Published Year Published: 2013 Citation: Ganjegunte, G.K., M.N. Meki and J.R. Kiniry. 2013. Field Evaluation of Bioenergy Crops Performance On Saline Soils Under Arid Conditions. Proceedings of ASA, CSSA and SSSA International Meetings Water, Food & Energy for a Sustainable World, 1 page [on Web], November 3-6, 2013, Tampa, FL. Abstract.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Published Year Published: 2013 Citation: A. McDonald and G.K. Ganjegunte. 2013. Impacts of Creosotebush-tarbush Control on Rainfall Infiltration and Forage production in the Rio Grande Basin. Proceedings of 2013 Rio Grande Basin Initiative Meeting, 1 page [on Web], 15 - 16, 2013 at San Antonio, TX. Abstract.